Steele County, Minnesota

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Wallace Barney
Source: Morning Star (Rockford, IL) Wednesday, March 23 1921; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

CHICAGO, March 22.-The body of a man with a small bullet hole in the skull was found in the Chicago River today. The only clew to the man's identification was a local hotel receipt, dated November 26, 1920, and bearing the name "Hallon Varney, Medford, Minn." Employes at the hotel did not recall Varney.

MEDFORD, Minn., March 22.-M. L. Barney, a farmer living near here, tonight was notified in a telegram from Chicago that a body, believed to be that of his son, Wallace Barney, had been found in the Chicago, River. The description of the body, he said, led him to believe that it is not that of his son.

C. G. Bennell
Source: Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) Sunday, October 15, 1916; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

C. G. Bennell and Son, of Medford, Minn., recently completed the purchase of a Model 30 Overland engine which is to be used for a gasoline tractor in their general farmwork. This car was bought by the Auto Supply Company, the Overland dealer in that territory, in January, 1909. Since then it has been in almost constant use for livery purposes and has been driven 250,000 miles, equivalent to almost ten times around the world.

Clarence Benson
Source: Duluth News-Tribune (MN) July 1, 1905; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Sandstone, Minn., June 30.-Private advices to police authorities from Medford, Minn., indicate that Clarence Benson, the child who disappeared from home a week ago may have been kidnaped by a peddler who is now traveling in southern Minnesota. A rig similar to the one driven by a peddler under suspicion passed through this part of the state about the time the child disappeared and Chief of Police Regan has telegraphed the sheriffs of Freeborn and Steele counties to hold the peddler until an investigation can be made.

The kidnaping theory gains popularity every day among those who refuse to believe in foul play. Every foot of ground for miles around the Benson home has been searched by men and bloodhounds and no trace of the missing child can be found. Detectives have looked for evidences of a new made grave, but have given up the search in that direction.

The county, town and village authorities have united in prosecuting a further vigorous search.

Judge Parish, Deputy Coroner McEachern and Sheriff Hawley have interviewed the parents and neighbors, and have secured sworn statements from Mrs. Benson, mother of the lost child. It is feared by many that Mrs. Benson is losing her mind as a result of grief and worry over the boy's mysterious disappearance.

This belief is partly borne out by the fact that her statements to Sheriff Hawley, and Coroner McEachern are contradictory in the extreme.

Albert Busho
Source: Blooming Prairie Times, Thursday, May 27, 1948, Volume LV, Number Three. Transcribed by: Jacob Alberti

Manley Jensen, Austin, Rt. 1, was assessed $25.00 fine and $4.50 costs when he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge in Justice W. E. Carman's court. Jensen was charged with colliding with a car driven by Albert Busho, Blooming Prairie farmer, on the postoffice corner Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

Floy Fowler
Source: Aberdeen Weekly News (Aberdeen, SD) Thursday, November 7, 1901; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Floy Fowler left for his home at Medford, Minn., last Wednesday evening. He has been engaged to work in a creamery at Faribault and the many friends he made here are sorry to see him leave, but are glad to hear of his advancement. He was prominent among the baseball boys and they all hope that he will return in the near future.

Neil Johnson
Source: Blooming Prairie Times, Thursday, May 27, 1948, Volume LV, Number Three. Transcribed by: Jacob Alberti

Officer Neil Johnson has rented the Gena Ostby residence and will move his family here from Ellendale June 1st. This is the house formerly occupied by the Nels Nelson family, who are now residents of Chatfield. Gena Ostby, of Mayville, N. D., was here this week looking after her property.

Victor Krejci
Source: Blooming Prairie Times, Thursday, May 27, 1948, Volume LV, Number Three. Transcribed by: Jacob Alberti

The Times publisher and Mrs. Krejci will leave by car Friday morning for Excelsior Springs, Mo., where Mr. Krejci will take treatments for his arthritic condition at the Ball clinic. With two check-ups at the Mayo clinic in Rochester since last October, following their course of treatment and diet, and numerous osteopathic adjustments taken at Austin, his condition has shown little improvement. Since Sept. 6th, The Times publisher has been practically an invalid. Victor and Vyrle Krejci will convey their parents to the Missouri health resort. Mail addressed in care of the Ball Clinic, Excelsior Springs, Mo., will reach them. They will be pleased to hear from their friends as they expect to be away for several weeks.

George Miner
Source: The saint Paul Globe (MN) August 15, 1897; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Mr. George Miner, of Medford, Minn., marketed a forty-four bushel load of this year's grown wheat at Hastings' mill. This is the first of this year's crop of wheat marketed in this vicinity. Mr. Miner reports that the yield averaged sixteen bushels to the acre.

William Noyes
Source: Aberdeen American (Aberdeen, SD) Sunday, June 7, 1914; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Prof. Wm. Noyes has resigned as principal of the Flandreau schools and accepted a similar position at Medford, Minn.

Herbert Reed
Source: The People's Press (Owatonna, Steele Co., MN) July 23, 1897, page 7; submitted by Robin Line
About 3 o'clock in the afternoon of circus day two sneak thieves were seen to enter the rear of Mr. Herbert Reed's residence near the railway tracks on North Cedar street during the family's absence and carry away a quantity of goods. The case was promptly reported to police who at once began a search for the culprits. Something like two hours later they were rounded up and arrested on the show grounds by Officers Thorson and Misgen and taken before Judge Luce for a hearing. Each of the accused waived examination and was committed to jail to await the action of the grand jury which convenes next December. The goods taken were found to consist of a new suit of clothing, a hat, a razor and a scarf pin, the value of all amounting to about twenty-five dollars. All the property was recovered except the hat and razor. The prisoners have every appearance of being all round toughs and say they were in the employ of the circus owners at the time of the theft, while the circus people contend that they had previously been discharged. The "catch" is considered a smooth and valuable piece of work and reflects much credit upon Owatonna's guardians of the peace.

Arthur Richardson
Source: Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, MT) Friday, February 23, 1906; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Of the many inquiries to Butte Montana's officials in search of missing persons include:
Arthur H. W. Richardson, who is 23 years old and was in Butte five years ago, sought by his mother, Mrs. A. W. Richardson, Medford, Minn.

Frank Schutt
Source: Mower County Transcript (Lansing, MN) June 19, 1889, page 8; submitted by Robin Line
Mr. Frank Schutt, of Geneva, was here Wednesday buying two and three year old stock steers. Mr. Schutt informs us that he and his brother own a thousand acre pasture near Geneva.

Ray Taylor
Source: The Duluth Herald (MN), Wednesday Evening, Oct. 26, 1910.

Minnesota Briefs. Owatonna - Ray Taylor, for some months past driver of the Wells Fargo express wagon, has just been given the position of agent at Decorah, Iowa, and assumed his new duties the latter part of last week.

George H. Wright
- - - Source: Morning Herald (Lexington, KY) April 9, 1902; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

"WOULD FOOL THE VERY DEVIL HIMSELF," Said a Circular Describing a Man Wanted on Murder Charge.
The police department has received a letter requesting the officials to watch for one George H. Wright, a man with numerous aliases, who is wanted in Utah charged with a murder, for which one man is now serving a life term in the penitentiary.

In February 1895, it is alleged that Wright murdered three boys on the shore of Utah Lake, in Utah county, and then hauled the bodies on the ice and put them under. A month later the ice thawed and the story of the murder came out. The step-father of one of the boys, named Hayes, was arrested and found guilty of the murder.

Many months passed, and it was learned that on the day of the murder several articles were stolen and these were located at a place where Wright had been seen a few days after the crime. His career was investigated and, the officers allege, it developed that he was one of the worst criminals in the western country. He was born in Medford, Minn., and studied law at Ann Arbor. He went West and became engaged in several occupations, among them a reporter on a newspaper. He was charged with the murder of a man in Denver, but as the chief witness is dead he cannot be prosecuted.

The circular received here describes the man completely. He does not swear, chew, smoke, gamble or drink, and one portion of the circular states that "he would fool the very devil himself."

- - - Source: The Saint Paul Globe (MN) April 23, 1900
It Is Charged Against George H. Wright, A Former Minnesotan

CHICAGO, April 22. - (Special.) - Medford, Minn., a small town in Steele county, promises to acquire not a little unpleasant notoriety as the birthplace of a notorious triple murderer, if the suspicions of the Utah authorities are correct.

The individual was born to the name of Wright, although he has adopted several aliases, it seems during his career.

Circulars have been received here asking for the capture of George H. Wright, a Michigan university law graduate, who is charged with the murder of four men in Utah and Colorado. Attorney William J. Candlish, also an Ann Arbor man, and now a resident of Chicago, has likewise received one of the circulars, issued by Sheriff George A. Storrs, of Provo City, Utah and he is longing for a view of Wright.

Mr. Candlish's interest in Wright is of unique origin, involving a strange confession, a stranger disappearance and an unusual transfer of valuable properties. It was because the little daughter of Attorney Candlish attracted the regard of Wright that Candlish is now the possessor of mining claims and other real estate at Cripple Park and Guffy, Col.

The sheriffs of two counties are looking for Wright, and the state of Utah now offers a reward of $500 for his arrest, as embodied in the notices received by the Chicago police, but since Aug. 31, 1897, no one interested in the matter has known the alleged murder's whereabouts save perhaps Attorney Candlish. He is retained for Wright's counsel for defense in case the man ever comes to trial, and claims the lawyer's right to remain silent regarding all matters in which speech might put in jeopardy the interests of his client.

A few persons in Chicago knew of the peculiar relations existing between Attorney Candlish and Wright, the fugitive. These persons are capitalists whom Wright previously had interested in some of his mining properties. They alone are acquainted with the reasons why Candlish has succeeded Wright as president of two of these companies and as stockholder in the third, of which he is also general counsel.

In the circular issued by Sheriff Storrs, the principal one of Wright's alleged crimes and the man himself are described as follows:

George H. Wright, alias James G. Weeks, alias C. T. Case, alias Mr. Stevens, is wanted for the murder of three boys on the west shore of Utah lake, in Utah county, state of Utah, which murder was committed on or about Feb. 16, 1895. The said Wright, alias Weeks, etc., it is supposed, after murdering the boys hauled them in a wagon onto the ice of said lake, cut a hole in the ice, and buried them under the ice and after the ice on the lake had thawed and broken up, the bodies of the murdered boys floated to the shore and were found on the shore of the lake in March, 1895.

George H. Wright, alias Weeks, alias Case, alias Stevens, was born at Medford, Minn., about 1861; he was the son of a well-to-do farmer and was educated at Ann Arbor, Mich., in the profession of law; he is about thirty-eight years old; height, 5 feet 11 inches or 6 feet; weight 160 to 175 pounds; complexion , fair; color of hair, light brown; eyes, steel grey; mustache, if one is worn, light brown, inclined to be sandy; beard, a shade more red than mustache, but mustache and beard may be colored; he frequently shaved smooth, which made a great change in his appearance; he would also at times wear sideburns and shave his chin smoothe; large head and broad forehead; two large upper teeth, one of them has a small white speck which is often shown when Wright is speaking; his little finger on one hand has been broken and is stiff and crooked; small scar from point of nose to right corner of mouth. Wright is nearly always chewing a toothpick or straw and keeps his mustache short by chewing it off; he is square shouldered and walks and stands erect; he is very entertaining in conversation and uses no bad or improper language; does not drink and smokes but little if any. He has a soft, musical and rather deep toned voice when talking; is very gentlemanly; is well educated and may be engaged in business as a lawyer, civil engineer, lecturer, newspaper reporter or mining operator, all of which pursuits he has followed. He has worked on a farm and as a cowboy, and is able to turn his attention to almost any kind of work. He has been engaged extensively in cattle and horse stealing; also embezzlement, forgery and other crimes. He usually engaged in crime by himself without the aid or assistance of other persons.

Besides this, it is charged that Wright, then known as Charles T. Case, killed a man named Carmpton near Guffy, Col., in January, 1897, and that he embezzled considerable sums from mining companies of which he was president, all located at Cripple Park, near Guffy.

On July 1, 1897, Wright registered in Chicago at the North Shore hotel under the alias of Case. He had just come from the Klondike, where he had spent more than a year. He soon became known to Chicago people through extensive interviews published in the newspapers, in which he gave detailed information concerning the conditions in the Klondike mining camps.

Wright had been at the North Shore hotel only a few days before he became the favorite companion of a little girl who was the pet of all the hotel guests, the daughter of Mr. Candlish. Interest in the child soon led to inquiry as to her parents, and both men being graduates of Ann Arbor's law department, there was community of interest and the men became familiar. Wright's liking for the child was followed by an equally strong liking on his part for her parents.

Aug. 31, 1897, a strange experience came to Mr. Candlish, and one that was the forerunner of many others almost equally strange. Sitting alone in his office that day Mr. Candlish was confronted suddenly by Case, as he knew him who came in hurriedly, pale and evidently greatly agitated. Case frequently had said that some day he should do something handsome for Candlish. He did it in a way altogether unexpected.

On entering Mr. Candlish's office Case closed the door and locked it. He said: "I am in trouble, I must confide in somebody, and of all the people I know I prefer it should be you. Are you willing to become my confidant and adviser?"

Candlish replied that he was willing and Case went on:
"I have told you already something of the annoyance caused me by the officials of Guffy, a town that is in bitter rivalry with Cripple Park, where most of my property is located. I have just received a tin that a warrant has been sworn out in Guffy for my arrest for the murder of a man named Crampton, who was killed last January near there. I scarcely knew the man. I was foreman of the coroner's jury that held an inquest over his body and that returned a verdict that he came to his death from a gunshot wound inflicted by a party or parties unknown.

"I swear that I am innocent of his death. My death is desired simply as a scheme to kill me, or at least to ruin my enterprises, and has been planned by people of a rival town for that purpose. I can prove my innocence, but if arrested now I must lie in jail for some time before a grand jury will be convened to pass on my case and give me a chance for a trial. Meantime I might lose all I have.

"What I want you to do is to go out there and straighten out my affairs. Work up a case for my defense, and when you are ready for me I will come out and stand trial. I haven't much ready money just now, but I have some valuable properties, and I want you to take them, straighten things out for me, and treat me right when everything is cleared up."

Case, who had lived at Cripple Park had held property there under that name, then deeded to Mr. Candlish a bank building, a residence, two office buildings and numerous vacant lots in Cripple Park and Guffy, and transferred to him in mining form all his holdings of stocks in mining corporations.

Knowing the feeling of enmity toward the Case at Guffy, which is just around the bend of a mountain from Cripple Park, both towns being near Cripple Creek and in the Freshwater mining district, Candlish went to Cripple Park in the character of a young lawyer looking for a desirable place to locate for practice. He told no one that he knew Case, but whenever he heard Case's name mentioned he drew out what information he could regarding him.

He remained at Cripple Park and Guffy ten days and heard both sides of the stories current regarding his client.

It proved later that Sheriff Storrs, of Utah county, in which the murders were committed, had traced Wright, who was known by his true name in Utah, to Cripple Park, and there lost track of him, as he had left there a short time before for the Klondike. The publicity given to Case's lectures and interviews in Chicago, through the newspapers, had come to the attention of Sheriff Storrs, and about the same time the Denver papers published pictures of Wright in connection with the Crampton murder indictment, but with the name of Charles T. Case. Sheriff Storrs then saw that Wright and Chase were one and the same man, and when Case fled from Chicago it was to escape the tribunals of justice in two states, in both of which he was liable to trial on the charge of murder.

During his first stay of ten days in Cripple Park, Mr. Candlish investigated the Crampton killing and found strong circumstantial evidence against his client. He since has learned the story of the Utah crime.

It developed that when Wright was living beside Utah lake near Pelican Point, Utah, three young men, stepsons of his neighbor, suddenly disappeared, and between the next two days Wright and his wife left the state. The following spring the bodies of the three young men were washed ashore from the lake and each was found to have a bullet wound between the eyes.

Subsequently the stepfather of the boys was tried for their murder, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. A short time before the sentence was to be executed knowledge came to his attorney that evidence implicating Wright had been found. This suggestion of Wright's guilt soon grew into belief, from the fact that the young men were shot by some one who was expert in handling a rifle, for Wright had been known as a crack shot.

Source: The Bemidji Pioneer (MN) May 31, 1900
Grafton, N. D., May 25. - George H. Wright, who was born at Medford, Minn., was recently arrested at Ashton, W. Va. He is charged with four murders, forgery, horse stealing and bigamy. He was an exemplary young man at twenty years of age and a good student.

Subsequent Follow-Up:
Excerpts from: The Minneapolis Journal (MN) November 20, 1901.
Owatonna, Minn., Nov. 20. - George H. Wright, sought by the arm of the law for six years, has been captured in far-away Hawaii. The story of his crimes, his success in eluding a vigorous police pursuit and his final capture is one which will go down in police records.

Wright is charged with several murders, forgery, horse stealing and minor offenses. It is on the specific charge of murdering three boys on the shore of Utah Lake, in Utah, about Feb. 16, 1895, that he will be tried.

Captain Grannan of the Grannan Detective agency of Cincinnati was perhaps most responsible for the arrest of Wright in Hawaii. Circulars containing Wright's description and picture were sent broadcast over the world, and one was turned over to United States Deputy Marshal Lorrin Andrews, in Hilo, Honolulu.

Andrews recognized in the picture a man who was then in Cahn jail in Hawaii. The man had been arrested and convicted as a "gross cheat," his arrest taking place as he boarded a steamer bound for Australia. Marshal Andrews has written to Captain Grannan identifying the prisoner in Hawaii as Wright. Andrews requests Grannan to forward at once the papers for Wright's arrest on the murder charge, and he will be brought back to Utah for trial.

Wright is a native of Medford, Steele county, Minn., where he was born in 1866. He has relatives, all eminently respectable people, still living there. He left Medford with his parents when a young man and settled at Cannon City, where he worked on a farm for several years. Later on in life he went to Fargo, where he remained for some time and it was there that he fell in with another young man who induced him to go to Ann Arbor and enter the law department of the University of Michigan. It was while in An Arbor that he met a daughter of a widowed milliner with whom he became fascinated, and a few years later married. After leaving school he again returned to Fargo, but soon removed to Utah, where the scene of his worst crime is laid. He has always borne an unsavory reputation with those who knew him intimately, and is a professional gambler, to which fact, no doubt, may be partly attributed his downfall.

George H. Wright, alias James G. Weeks, alias C. T. Case, alias Mr. Stevens, is wanted for the murder of the three boys on the west shore of Utah Lake, on or about Feb. 16, 1895. After murdering the boys Wright hauled them in a wagon upon the ice of the lake, cut a hole and buried them. After the ice had thawed and broken up the bodies of the boys floated to the shore and were found.

Besides this, it is charged that Wright, then known as Charles T. Case, killed a man named Carmpton, near Guffy, Col., in January, 1897, and that he embezzled sums from the mining companies of which he was president, all located at Cripple Park, near Guffy.

A feature of the Utah Lake murders was the fact that the stepfather of the boys was tried for murder, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. A short time before he was to be executed knowledge came to his attorney that evidence implicating Wright had been found. This suggestion of Wright's guilt soon grew to belief, from the fact that the young men were shot down by some one who was an expert in handling a rifle, for Wright had been known as a crack shot.

His wife some years ago obtained a divorce, and it was her voluntary confession to Utah authorities which brought the release of the father of the murdered boys.

It was believed last may that Wright had been caught at Ashton, W. Va., in the person of one William Tryon, a professional evangelist, who answered Wright's description, and who was also guilty of bigamy and embezzlement. He proved however, not to be the desired man.

Source: Chicago Daily Tribune (IL) November 22, 1901. Unless otherwise indicated, all articles transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Mrs. Wright's story was that the young men had knowledge of her husband stealing cattle, and that he killed them to protect himself from being lynched. She said after shooting them he dragged the bodies out on the frozen lake, cut a hole in the ice, and forced the bodies under. In the spring the bodies came to the surface and each was found to have been shot between the eyes.

Source: The Hawaiian Star (Honolulu, HI) February 28, 1902
San Francisco, February 14. - Sheriff George A. stores of Provo, Utah has been in this city for several days in search of a man whom he has been pursuing for over five years, a man charged with four murders and numberless lesser crimes, punishment for which he has thus far succeeded in escaping. The object of this interesting man hunt is one George H. Wright, and it is thought that he is in hiding somewhere in or about San Francisco.

Of the many crimes charged to George H. Wright, alias James G. Weeks, alias C. T. Case, alias Stevens, the most serious is the wanton murder of three young men, Albert Ernstrom, Alfred Nielson and Andrew Johnson, near Pelican point, on Utah lake, on February 16, 1895. For this crime H. F. Hayes, step-father of Ernstrom, was indicted on December 4, 1895, tried and on April 14th, following found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Utah, which sustained the finding of the lower Court, and the sentence would have been executed had not the Board of Pardons intervened and commuted the sentence to imprisonment for life.

Three years later - namely, in April, 1899 - the case assumed a sensational aspect, when George A. Storrs of Salt Lake County, Utah, after prolonged and exhaustive investigation, presented an affidavit which showed that Hayes was innocent and that the real murderer was Wright, a man who had for years lived a life of robbery and depredation. Affidavit were also presented by several witnesses who swore that they had bought from Wright articles which were identified as having been taken from the ranch which the three boys had occupied on the border of the lake. But of greatest importance was a lengthy affidavit by Wright's wife, whose life had been a miserable one for years. She told in detail and in full the methods by which her husband had made his livelihood, and among his industries were cattle stealing, forgery, swindling and downright robbery, as well as murder. She said that he was long addicted to nocturnal prowling, after which he would return with various kinds of live stock, all the way from a calf to a flock of sheep, which he would sell to the most likely purchaser.

When these revelations were made by Sheriff Storrs little difficulty was experienced in securing a pardon for Hayes, and in the spring of 1899 he was set free, since which time Storrs, aided by the police of the entire country, has been relentlessly hunting for Wright.

Meanwhile in January, 1896, William C. Crampton, a mining man was murdered near Victor, Col. Crampton had a partner named Case, but no suspicion attached to him at the time. Case even served on the Coroner's jury which investigated the murder. Finally, however, when more light was shed upon the affairs, Case was suspected and afterward formally charged with the crime, but he had in the meantime made good his escape. It subsequently developed that he was none other than Wright, who was in time located in Chicago. The police of that city were asked to arrest him, but he got wind of it and again vanished, since which time the authorities have been unable to locate him, although Sheriff Storrs has persistently sought for him up to the present time.

Wright appears to be a remarkable criminal. He was born in 1861 of reputable and prosperous parents, in Medford, Minn., and was educated for the profession of law at Ann Arbor, Mich. He is described as being very gentlemanly in his manner extremely well educated and of engaging manner. He does not drink, and smokes very seldom. At various times in his career he has followed the vocations of lawyer, newspaper reporter, civil engineer, lecturer and mining promoter. In spite of his dark record he has seldom been arrested and, as far as known, has never been convicted of any crime.

Art Yust
Source: Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, SD) Thursday, October 6, 1910; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Art Yust, who has for the past two years been employed with the Hugger Transfer company, has gone to Medford, Minn., where he has opened a general store.

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